Fort Worth Father’s Rights Lawyer Answers Top 5 Questions
For the average person, the legal issues involved in a divorce can be confusing and complex. The entire legal system, in fact, can be difficult to navigate for someone who does not have any previous experience. On top of all that, when you are facing a divorce, or dealing with issues related to custody of your children, your emotional state is typically heightened, making it even more difficult to focus and sort through the legal issues you are facing. Given the individual nature of divorce, and other related matters, it is always best to consult directly with a divorce attorney if you have specific questions relating to your situation; however, because there are some questions that are commonly asked by clients dealing with divorce related issues, a Fort Worth father’s rights lawyer has prepared the following general answers to five of those questions in an attempt to help people better understand some of the basic divorce related legal concepts.
What grounds can I use to file for divorce in Texas? Texas allows a petitioner to choose from seven potential grounds for divorce, including two “no-fault” options. The seven grounds include:
Living apart for at least three years
Confinement in a mental hospital
Conviction of a felony
Is there a presumption in favor of the mother with regard to custody of minor children in a divorce in Texas? There was a time when both society and the law made the assumption that custody of the children would remain with the mother post-divorce unless there was a showing that the mother was unfit to parent her children. As society has moved away from that assumption, so has the law. The Texas Family Code Section 153.003 specifically prohibits a court from taking the parent’s sex into account when determining issues related to conservatorship and possession, stating as follows:
The court shall consider the qualifications of the parties without regard to their marital status or to the sex of the party or the child in determining:
(1) which party to appoint as sole managing conservator;
(2) whether to appoint a party as joint managing conservator; and
(3) the terms and conditions of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.
What is “conservatorship?” The State of Texas does not use the terms “custody” nor “visitation” when referring to where the children will live and how parenting time will be allotted post-divorce. Instead, the term "conservatorship" is used to refer to the parent(s) who will have the legal authority to make important decisions relating to the child, such as where the child will go to school or what medical treatment the child will receive. A court could grant joint or sole conservatorship. If the court grants joint conservatorship the parents share the decision making authority whereas sole conservatorship means one parent only has the right to make important decisions.
What is “possession and access?” The concept of “visitation” is an old one that is not used by most courts anymore in any state. In Texas, “possession and access” is used instead. Possession and access refers to where the minor children will live after the divorce and how the parents will exercise parenting time with the children post-divorce.
What is a “parenting plan?” A parenting plan must be submitted in every divorce where minor children are involved. A parenting plan sets forth the duties and obligations of each parent post-divorce as well as outlines the details of the conservatorship and possession and access agreement/award. In addition, the parenting plan may also include the child support obligation and a plan for how to resolve conflicts between the parties in the future. In essence, a parenting plan is intended to be a roadmap for the parties to use after the divorce is finalized.
If you have additional questions or concerns about divorce, conservatorship, possession and access, or anything else related to a Texas divorce involving children, contact an experienced Fort Worth father’s rights lawyer at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd to schedule your appointment today.